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Applied DNA Sciences Acquires Spindle Biotech, Launches LineaIVT Platform

NEW YORK – Applied DNA Sciences announced on Thursday that it acquired RNA polymerase developer Spindle Biotech.

The acquisition enables Applied DNA to combine its LinearDNA IVT platform with Spindle's proprietary, high-performance RNA polymerase (RNAP) into an integrated platform called LineaIVT, for which Applied DNA also launched an early access program.

The Stony Brook, New York-based company expects LineaIVT to offer several advantages over conventional plasmid DNA-based mRNA production. These include higher target mRNA yields from the prevention or reduction of double-stranded RNA contamination; milligram scale IVT templates that can be delivered in as little as 14 days and gram scale templates in 30 days; and reduced mRNA manufacturing complexities.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Applied DNA assumed all outstanding shares of Toronto-based Spindle for an upfront purchase consideration of $625,000, adjusted for debt and transaction expenses; 750,000 restricted shares of Spindle's common stock; and future contingent consideration of up to 1 million shares of Spindle's common stock pending certain commercialization and revenue milestones. The agreement also provides for a 10-year revenue share based on the net sales generated by the LineaIVT platform. 

Spindle Cofounder and CEO Aaron Chung is joining Applied DNA as director of nucleic acid platforms.

In March 2022, Applied DNA and Spindle reached a deal to develop a method of mRNA production that would be advantageous over conventional plasmid DNA methods.

"The acquisition of Spindle aligns us with the growing demand for mRNA therapeutics across an expanding range of diseases," James Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA, said in a statement.

Hayward added that industrial use of plasmid DNA and "inherent limitations associated with conventional production methods for mRNA," such as generating potentially hazardous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) contaminants, complicate mRNA supply, delaying developmental timelines and complicating regulatory approval processes.

"The issue of dsRNA is currently addressed through additional purification, specialized instrumentation, and cost," Hayward said. "However, with the launch of our LineaIVT platform, we seek to solve these manufacturing issues and enable our customers to produce better mRNA faster."

Last year, Applied DNA issued a $12 million public stock and warrants offer.